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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The ankh was the Egyptian hieroglyphic character that read "life", a triliteral sign for the consonants ˁ-n-. Egyptian gods are often portrayed carrying it by its loop, or bearing one in each hand, arms crossed over their chest. It is also known as the key of life, the key of the Nile, or as crux ansata, Latin for "cross with a handle".

In popular culture

The ankh was popularized in modern times as "the cross of life" in the film The Egyptian, where Akhenaten's cult of Atenism is portrayed as a religion containing proto-Christian ideas. Since the 1960s it has been a popular symbol within various cultural movements: Nile (band), subcultures (Hippie, Goth), cinema (Logan's Run, The Hunger, Superfly), comic books (Sandman, Doctor Fate), musical groups (Kiss, Elvis Presley, The 69 Eyes, Iced Earth, Earth, Wind and Fire, Cage the Elephant), television shows (Yu-Gi-Oh!, Metalocalypse) and video games (Tomb Raider, Ultima, Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines, World of Warcraft, Guild Wars, Ankh).

A stylized or modified ankh is a popular tattoo motif among many celebrities such as professional wrestlers Christopher Daniels and Edge, neo-soul/hip-hop artist Erykah Badu, pop music artist Anastacia, Amy Winehouse and NBA stars such as Shaquille O'Neal and Dennis Rodman. A variety of consumer product lines have also come to be identified with the symbol; an example is professional skateboarder Mark Rogowski's "Ankh model" of skateboard.

The ankh also retains popularity among Neopagan religious and spiritual movements as a symbol for a variety of concepts relating to life, immortality and the occult, being commonly used in parallel with Energy Vampires. In its relation with immortality and eternal life, the Ankh is the central symbol represented in the sacred seal of the Asetians, also known in the occult world as the Dark Mark. This symbol is a blend of Ancient Egyptian iconography with highly theological connotations and is a distinctive hallmark of the secretive Order of Aset Ka. That symbol can be seen in the cover of the published literary work on vampirism and Ancient Egyptian spirituality Asetian Bible, as it is present in the image on the side of this article.

The anorankh (an ankh wearing an anorak) was a semi-official Discworld fan symbol, made by Clarecraft, after the accidental misuse by one user of fan group alt.pratchett of 'anorak' to refer to an ankh.

In 2008, a tribute album entitled "KISS MY ANKH: A Tribute To Vinnie Vincent" was released by SplitScreen Entertainment. The album pays tribute to former Kiss guitarist Vinnie Vincent, whose Kiss character was that of an Egyptian Warrior wearing ankh make-up on his face.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Ankh" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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